Topline: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended a Commonwealth Day service at London’s Westminster Abbey on Monday, marking their last official engagement as working members of Britain’s royal family before they embark on a more private life—and financial independence.
Harry and Meghan’s farewell tour—their final round of engagements as senior U.K. royals—has seen them attend a charity awards ceremony and a military music festival service at London’s Royal Albert Hall together, as well as embarking on separate engagements over the past few days.
- Their final one on Monday saw them join other senior royals—The Queen, Prince Charles, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.
- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are officially stepping back as senior royals on March 31, after which they will drop the use of their His Royal Highness/Her Royal Highness titles.
- The couple have said they will spend most of their time in North America and are repaying the $3.1 million taxpayer-funded refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, their U.K. base.
What to watch for:
Harry and Meghan will launch their own non-profit organization soon, in keeping with the awareness-raising work they have embarked on during previous royal tours, and on their SussexRoyal instagram page.
Key background: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bombshell announcement in January that they would step back as senior royals was followed by emergency meetings, initiated by the Queen, between the senior royal households. The Queen later publicly lent her support to the couple and acknowledged some of the hardships they had faced. Over the past few weeks, the couple’s future roles have been hashed out. Here’s what will change:
- The couple, who have spent most of their time in Canada since the start of the year, will split their time between North America and the U.K.
- They will work to become financially independent, forgoing taxpayer funding that other royals receive, but they will still receive a share of Prince Charles’ $27 million income from his private estate, the Duchy of Cornwall.
- They will no longer represent the Queen in a formal capacity.
- Prince Harry’s military ranks of Major, Lieutenant Commander and Squadron Leader will not be used for the next 12 months.
- They will also cease using their ‘Sussex Royal’ branding as we know it, due to U.K. government rules on the use of ‘royal. Their trademark applications for the terms have also been removed.
- But Harry and Meghan will maintain their charity patronages—those charities that they publicly endorse including the Invictus Games, founded by Harry, and the National Theatre, one of Meghan’s most high profile patronages.
- Harry will remain president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, while Meghan will stay its Vice President.
- Prince Harry will remain sixth in line to the throne, while son Archie remains seventh.
- There will be a review in 12 months’ time of the couples’ roles.
– Isabel Togoh, Forbes Staff, Business